ne·​crop·​o·​lis | \ nə-ˈkrä-pə-ləs How to pronounce necropolis (audio) , ne- \
plural necropolises or necropoles\ nə-​ˈkrä-​pə-​ˌlēz How to pronounce necropolis (audio) , ne-​ \ or necropoleis\ nə-​ˈkrä-​pə-​ˌlās How to pronounce necropolis (audio) , ne-​ \ or necropoli\ nə-​ˈkrä-​pə-​ˌlī How to pronounce necropolis (audio) , -​ˌlē , ne-​ \

Definition of necropolis

: cemetery especially : a large elaborate cemetery of an ancient city

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With its -polis ending, meaning "city", a necropolis is a "city of the dead". Most of the famous necropolises of Egypt line the Nile River across from their cities. In ancient Greece and Rome, a necropolis would often line the road leading out of a city; in the 1940s a great Roman necropolis was discovered under the Vatican's St. Peter's Basilica. Some more recent cemeteries especially deserve the name necropolis because they resemble cities of aboveground tombs, a necessity in low-lying areas such as New Orleans where a high water table prevents underground burial.

Examples of necropolis in a Sentence

Archaeologists uncovered a necropolis of ancient Rome. an ancient necropolis that has given archaeologists valuable insights into how people once lived and died
Recent Examples on the Web The treasures were recently found at the necropolis of Saqqara near Cairo and will go on display at the Grand Egyptian Museum, officials announced on Monday. Jason Duaine Hahn,, 31 May 2022 Archaeologists had discovered relics belonging to Egyptian dynasties buried in the Saqqara necropolis in the past, but the latest find marks the first and largest unearthing of bronze statues in the area from the Late Period, or the 5th century BC. Mostafa Salem, CNN, 30 May 2022 My destination was first a medieval necropolis, and then the remains of a Celtic temple. Jason Wilson, Washington Post, 7 Mar. 2022 Egyptologists from the Czech Institute of Egyptology at Charles University in Prague unearthed the vessels while excavating deep shafts at an ancient necropolis in Abusir, south of Cairo. David Kindy, Smithsonian Magazine, 2 Mar. 2022 The temple has since been opened to visitors, while the wider archeological site contains the remains of a necropolis, quarries and a human settlement. CNN, 10 Feb. 2022 Already, though, the recent discoveries are helping to redefine this necropolis not as a silent graveyard but as a vibrant economic and spiritual center, filled with temples, embalming houses, stalls and workshops. Roger Anis, Smithsonian Magazine, 17 June 2021 Ancient Neapolis’ Greek residents used this area, just outside the city walls, as a necropolis. Julia Buckley, Smithsonian Magazine, 13 Jan. 2022 Per a statement from the Archaeological Park of Pompeii, experts discovered the remains at the necropolis of Porta Sarno, just east of the ancient city center. Isis Davis-marks, Smithsonian Magazine, 19 Aug. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'necropolis.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of necropolis

1819, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for necropolis

borrowed from Late Latin, "cemetery," borrowed from Greek Nekrópolis, literally, "city of the dead," name of a large cemetery in a suburb of ancient Alexandria, from nekro- necro- + -polis -polis

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The first known use of necropolis was in 1819

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Last Updated

6 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Necropolis.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jun. 2022.

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